This research paper will attempt to give a plausible answer to the following question: “Why do men dominate stand-up comedy?” Various articles related to this issue will be investigated to find a logical explanation to this phenomenon, but this particular issue will especially be examined from the lens of hegemonic masculinity. More specifically, the role of gender dynamics and hegemonic masculinity in stand-up comedy will be analyzed. The research study will aim to establish a positive correlation between male dominance in stand-up comedy and hegemonic masculinity. Hegemonic masculinity is an anthropological term what was first popularized by the sociologist R.W Connell and refers to the presence of a gender dynamic where men hold the socially dominant position. In hegemonic masculinity, men are perceived as the leaders of the society and are given the authority to subordinate and oppress women. Moreover, this sort of masculinity sexually objectifies women and promotes the prey/predator mindset. Research and prior background knowledge on the matter indicates that hegemonic masculinity might be allowing more men than women to enter the stand-up comedy sector. For instance, the article “ Women in Comedy: Why Is There Still A Lack Of Visible Female Comedians?” by Brogan Driscoll suggests that one factor that leads to the dominance of men in comedy is the fact that a comedian on stage possesses a high status and is regarded to be in charge of the entire room; this fact causes men to dominate stand-up comedy because such high status and control has been linked with alpha-male traits for centuries. Moreover, in his article “Why Women Aren’t Funny”, Christopher Hitchens, argues that women aren’t as funny as men and implicitly shows the prey/predator mindset as a reason for his own personal opinion. According to him, women aren’t as funny as men because they don’t need to be funny to attract the male attention. Basically, he states that comedy and women don’t necessarily go in line with each other since humor isn’t part of the sexual objectification of women. In the prey/predator mindset, women’s proper position is that of a sexual object, and according to the article by Julia Serano“Why Nice Guys Finish Last”, women feel the need to sexually objectify themselves to gain attention from men. For this reason, since humor isn’t part of the “prey” mentality, most women may not feel the need to master their comedic skills or start a career related to humor. Men, on the other hand, would be more inclined to do the opposite as humor is one of the primary tools they use to attract women. In other words, since humor part of the predator mindset in men, seeing male comedians on stage should be the expected phenomenon in society.
Further research related to this assignment will include other expert testimonies that strive to explain the dearth of women in stand up comedy as well as anthropological research that looks into the characteristics of hegemonic masculinity. During this further research, one of the primary concerns will be establishing direct links between various attributes of hegemonic masculinity and stand-up comedy.
Hitchens, Christopher. “Why Women Aren’t Funny.” Vanity Fair, Vanity Fair, 29 Aug. 2017, www.vanityfair.com/culture/2007/01/hitchens200701.
Driscoll, Brogan. “We Know That Women Are Funny, So Why Is There Still A Lack Of Visible Female Comedians?” HuffPost UK, HuffPost UK, 26 Mar. 2014, www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2014/03/26/comedy-are-women-funny-lack-female-comedians_n_5028855.html.
“Why Nice Guys Finish Last.” Emerging Contemporary Readings for Writers, by Julia Serano, 3rd ed., Bedford/St Martin’s, 2016, pp. 414–423.